After the finale of this season aired, I turned to my brother who was sitting next to me and just said, “that was great television”.
24: Live Another Day is the ‘limited time revival run’ of 24, the show we all loved when it was on or when we binged it on Netflix (yeah that’s me). But in either case, that is the show I won’t be reviewing, I’ll only be talking about the limited run. I may do a review of the original 24 at some point, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen some seasons, and I missed a few episodes in a couple seasons, but in any case it is one of my favorite show’s ever. Also, this review is spoiler-free, there will be a spoiler-heavy review in the next few days but this is not it!
Regardless, it’s been four years since we last saw Jack Bauer going all John McClain on foreign baddies and last we saw, he was on the run from the Russian government and American authorities. So on this particular day, Bauer resurfaces (after 4 years of hiding) in London to stop a presidential assassination threat. And from there, you really just have one of the most functional and realistic action shows ever bring itself back to form. As I said, this isn’t a review of 24 Seasons 1-8, though I will say it had some missteps. This season is really cool in its storytelling and is even cool in fixing some of the things we didn’t like from past seasons. First I’ll talk about the plot because every season of 24 needs to have an interesting plot to keep us entertained.
The plot in Live Another Day is really well structured for the most part. Every choice a character make does make sense, and every plot twist in the show makes sense. This seems like the best place to address the ‘12 episodes instead of 24’ thing too. This show revolutionized the format of television when it began airing. It was the original House of Cards, it was the show that you could binge-watch as soon as you picked up the VCR’s at Blockbuster. (Man, a lot’s happened since this show started…) And the shortened length still does that, just with a more condensed plot. Like the EPs said, these are the best hours of the 24.
There’s only one thing I would take off from the plot, and that was in the final three and half episodes of the season. There’s this change in plot that isn’t set up for as well, and I think could have been foreshadowed a little bit more. It’s really great in how it’s done, it just seems to come out of right field to fill the remaining episodes. I really liked it, but the set-up for it could have been a bit better.
While I’m talking about plot, I’ll talk about the realism this show has. If Breaking Bad didn’t exist, then I would have no problem saying ‘this is the most realistic show on television ever’, but because of Breaking Bad I have to say it is the second most realistic show on television ever. (Though if Breaking Bad never existed, we have bigger problems…) This season really reflects that too. There are some situations characters get into that the show does not get them out of. I’ll compare this to FOX’s other Monday at 9 p.m. show The Following. If there is some twist in The Following, like (real example) a character is held at gunpoint, the episode’s end fades to black and a gunshot is heard, then The Following will just say ‘oh he shot a different guy then the one held at gunpoint!’. 24: Live Another Day and 24 in general do not do that. Speaking of gunpoint, let’s talk about the gore this season has, oh my God! I profess that I do not watch every show on broadcast television, though I will say, this is the single goriest show I have seen on broadcast (not cable) television. There are some points where it looks straight-up like a 90’s R-rated action movie. There’s a scene where this guy is cut in the neck by a shard of glass, and then you see the blood just oozing out, and it’s not just oozing but it’s also popping out of the guy’s neck. Then when he takes the shard out, the blood is just water-falling out of the guy, dear lord! The gore is usually used to the show’s benefit though. It isn’t like The Walking Dead where it’s gory just to be AMC cable gory.
My only big gripe of Live Another Day does have to do with the plot though and that is just that it’s a bit predictable. For a show that kept me so entertained (especially while I binged the episodes I missed over the past few days) it was really sad to see that I could guess the twists of the last two or three episodes. And the sadness only increased when I would turn to my brother on the finale commercial breaks and say, “this will happen next”. And it did. I was at the point where, on the final commercial break of the finale, I said, “he was referring to this, this is going to be the final scene, and the final shot will be this”. That just bummed me out for a show that was so well-written and unpredictable for 9/12 episodes!
Next, this season has really good characters! Anything I say about Jack Bauer is something that someone else has already said: he’s just a one-man-army machine. The guy really puts the ‘Jack Bauer’ in ‘Jack Bauer: Power Hour’. Then they have new characters like Yvonne Strahovski from Dexter. Disclaimer: I hated her in Dexter. I thought she was really good in this though! She has a character in this one that has enough depth to not be over-the-top, and enough realism to feel relatable. Her sidekick from the CIA is really good too for what small role he had. Pretty much every London CIA operative is good, no matter how small their role. Then the show also brings back old favorites like Audrey. Audrey has her crap back together in this season and has obviously recovered from Season 6, yet you can still see some of her damage peeking through the cracks. I applaud Kim Raver for channeling that because it can be tough to pull off. And Audrey is married in this one to new character Mark Boudreau played by Tate Donovan. I’ll refer to his character this way: he is the jerk in the show that is still relatable enough to see where he’s coming from. There were parts where I was rooting for and against him, which is really well done on the writers part. And James Heller is back, this time as the President! His character has some level of personal damage going on this season, fighting whether or not he’s suitable to run the country. (I won’t tell you why because it’s interesting to see for yourselves, though I will talk about it at length in the spoiler review.) And wrapping it all up, we have Mary Lynn Rajskub (I looked up how to spell that) returning as Chloe. Chloe is the one that’s always been there for Jack, and they’ve made mention of that throughout the show, especially at the end of Season 8, though I think that point is reinforced the most this season, especially in the finale. There is a scene in the finale where she has you in tears.
I was totally tearing up at the end of the finale, because this was good. I say this a lot, but I was going back on forth with what to rate Live Another Day. It had great characters, great plot-points despite predictability at the end. The end was solid and WAYYY more memorable then the stupid Season 8 finale that I forgot I saw an hour after viewing. It was emotional, it was action-packed, it was a great tribute to old-school 90’s action movies complimented by these great characters and great writing. I’m pre-ordering this on Blu-Ray, it’s an experience I immediately wanted to have again after the finale was over. I wanted to be like, ‘yeah that was awesome, re-pop in Disk One. Maybe it’s just the return to the Jack Bauer/24 world or that I’ve been feeling generous lately, but I gotta say 24: Live Another Day is…
In very simple terms, as I said to my brother, “that was great television”.
So guys, those are my thoughts on 24: Live Another Day. As I said, there is a Spoiler-Filled Review of this season coming very soon, which I encourage you to check out if/after you’ve seen the season! Until then, who is the coolest television hero right now? Whoever they are, let me know down below! And don’t forget to Like us over on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MyMovieThoughts) and Follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/MMTsDotCom). And as always, thanks for reading guys.